Conquering International Runways: Life Lessons from a Dubai Model

Posted in Success Stories and Inspiration

Ever found yourself staring at the dazzling billboards in Dubai, mesmerized by the faces that grace them? These figures, so distant and yet so aspirational, do they not stir in you a question – ‘What does it take to get there?’

Meet Aaliyah, not just a Dubai model but an international sensation, who straddled both the East and the West, unified them with her magnetic allure and made the world her runway. What’s the surprise you ask? Turns out, not all that glitters is gold. Aaliyah’s journey is studded with rare gems of perseverance, resilience, and an unwavering faith in herself, making her story far more captivating than the glossy images on the billboards.

It’s Not All About The Glamour

‘People have this misconception – they think modeling is all about the glitz and glamour,’ Aaliyah observes, sipping her almond latte in a cosy corner café in Downtown Dubai. ‘The truth is, it’s a demanding profession that tests your limits every day. It’s a lot like the Dubai fashion industry itself- always evolving, always pushing you to stay one step ahead.’

The Journey: More Than Meets the Eye

‘It’s like the mirage in the desert,’ Aaliyah quips, comparing the glimmer of the fashion world to the illusions cast by Dubai’s daunting dunes. But isn’t that true of any journey to success? The destination appears tantalizingly close, yet the reality is a gruelling traverse over often unforgiving terrain. Aaliyah shrugs, ‘But knowing that each step you take breaks down barriers, that’s what kept me going.’

Born in Dubai to loving but conservative parents, transgressing the norms was not an option for her. ‘The first time I told them about my dream, it was met with outright refusal. They couldn’t fathom their daughter in mini skirts and high heels on public platforms.’

Such a start could have discouraged anyone, but not Aaliyah. Her determination, akin to the towering skyscrapers of her city, remained undeterred in the face of resistance. ‘Every time there was a hurdle, I told myself – I am bigger than this, I am stronger than this.’ And so, armed with nothing but a dream, she set out to conquer the international runways… quite literally.

Conquering the East and West

Her breakthrough came on the runways of Milan, a city known for its high-fashion. As an Arab model, the culture clash was stark, but Aaliyah boldly took it in stride. ‘It was intimidating, initially. Then I realized, my unique blend of Eastern tradition and Western modernism was my strength. I wasn’t just a model, I was a bridge between two worlds.’

The world began to notice Aaliyah, her face gracing international magazines, a firm favorite among designers from Paris to Tokyo, and a role model for aspiring talents back home. ‘I guess I didn’t conquer the world. I morphed it into a canvas where Gulf meets European seas, where Arabic couture waltz with swathes of Western trends. And that feels amazing.’

Lessons from the Journey

Today, Aaliyah stands as a testament to the power of dreams and sheer will. Her advice for those who yearn to follow in her footsteps? ‘Be persistent. Believe in your uniqueness. And remember, it’s okay to stumble. It’s how you rise that truly defines you.’

How fitting that a girl from the city of dizzying heights and limitless dreams inspires us to reach for our own skies!

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